Game update, Matusz talks

CLEARWATER, Fla. - The Orioles are taking a 3-2 lead into the eighth after scoreless innings from Michael Gonzalez and Jim Johnson.

Gonzalez issued a two-out walk and gave up a hit in the sixth. Johnson gave up back-to-back hits with two outs in the seventh, though shortstop Pedro Florimon easily could have been charged with an error on the second one.

Both relievers struck out one batter.

Here are some quotes from left-hander Brian Matusz, who was charged with two runs in relief:

“It was a little bit different situation for me today coming out of the bullpen like that, different routine before the game, get that long toss in right away. So it was a little bit different. Actually, it was kind of fun. It was fun hanging out in the bullpen for a couple innings and then being able to make that jog in from the bullpen. It was exciting. I was out of my routine a little bit, which was fine. Once I got on the mound, I didn’t feel any different. It took me a little while to get in my rhythm. I was a little bit jumpy. Couldn’t locate exactly where I wanted to at first, and (Craig) Tatum was able to get me to slow down a little bit. It was good though. I threw all my pitches. I threw some nice changeups that I was pretty happy about, and working in and out pretty well. Overall, I got my work in, I got my pitches in, I got in what I needed to. I felt good. I felt like it was a pretty successful day.

“I don’t know what my pitch count was but I got up there a little bit and Buck (Showalter) thought it was best to get me out of there. I was getting into too many three-ball counts and putting myself in that position. I’ve got to get that out of my system here in spring training and be ready for the season, where I can attack the zone a little bit better and not be too fine. I think I was being too fine with some of my pitches.”

Asked about his finger, he said, “It’s fine. I don’t think it’s an issue anymore.”

As for the Ryan Howard home run, Matusz said it was a fastball down and away.

“He did a good job,” Matusz said. “I threw a couple pitches in that location and he fouled them off. Tatum wanted me to go back in and I shook him off. I shouldn’t have. Going in was probably the best decision, but I wanted to go away and see if I could beat him. He’s a great low-ball hitter. That’s what he does. He got his bat head on it. I’m not too upset about it. I don’t think I’ll throw that pitch again, but he just beat me. I made a good pitch and he beat me.”

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